Author: Pete Loughlin

We’ve always seen the banks as being the facilitators of commerce. Depending on your point of view, they’re an invaluable support to business or a necessary evil. Without a properly regulated banking industry, business in the modern world couldn’t function. Or could it? There are changes happening that could make us question what role the banks play and in some industries and supply chains, there could be a better way.

A year ago the conversation was all about whether or not social media and social technologies were relevant in the B2B space. It wasn’t entirely clear whether the enormous impact of Facebook and Twitter would be mirrored by some industrial strength B2B equivalent. A year on and it’s no longer OK to be seen scratching your head quizzically when someone mentions social – if you don’t get it – you’ve had it!

In a comment on an earlier article about the cost of DPO, Richard Fitzwilliam commented: “DPO is a key indicator of a company’s health and is one of the levers which drives a company’s share price and therefore its valuation. Discounting does reduce DPO and therefore has a negative impact on share price.” I would not normally respond to a comment if I disagree with it but Richard's point is  an interesting one and it goes to illustrate very well how DPO, discounting and supply chain finance can be seen in entirely different ways depending on the lens you view them through.

I remember as a little kid being captivated by the imagery in the Tin Tin comic album “Destination Moon”. It’s an outlandish adventure that involves travelling through space in a red and white rocket ship all the way to the moon. And in parallel, the outlandish adventure was being played out for real in the Apollo missions. When Neil Armstrong became the first human being to step on another world, fantasy became reality. Science fiction became science fact and we could dare to dream that anything was possible. The sad news that Neil Armstrong died this weekend serves more than to remind us of that great event in history. It’s also a reminder of that age of adventure when it wasn’t all about money.

The problem with start-ups is they’re start-ups. For large organizations, it’s a difficult choice to go with a relatively new business even if their business model stacks up, which makes securing new business doubly difficult. And it makes the early years of a start-up the most challenging. Investors and industry observers know this and slow growth and moderate sales figures are expected but even with a great proposition, world class marketing and favourable write-ups from bloggers and analysts, there comes a point when the business model needs proving. We need to taste the pudding. Which is why we’re delighted to see the latest announcement from Tradeshift.

There’s been something in the air all year electronic invoicing. There has been before but this time it’s different. Exciting developments in Latin America as government mandate its use and European government following suit. The market research conducted by Paystream Advisors in collaboration with Purchasing Insight shows some exciting growth evidence (some of which will be presented at EXPP in Berlin in a few weeks) and it’s all backed up by an increasing number of new win announcements, the latest of which comes from OB10. It has just been announced that Australian building products company CSR has selected OB10,  to offer electronic invoicing to its 10,000 suppliers.